First Target Shouldnt Have Strayed

TBS Superstation's new political thriller,First Target,has enough McGuffins to keep you guessing about the number and identity of the bad guys. Unfortunately, it has a romantic secondary plot line that's almost enough to keep you laughing.

Daryl Hannah (yes, the mermaid fromSplash) is cast here as the head of the main U.S. Secret Service detail that guards the president. Actually, she handles the role quite well, because playing the stoic provides an excellent cover for her questionable acting range.

According to the script, she earned the top job in part because of her near-perfect response in attack drills. But the dialogue also makes it clear that she slept with co-workers on her way to the top. Can't they keep sexual intrigue out of it just once?

As a political thriller alone,First Target, though still flawed, is a better film. If the real Secret Service got regular e-mail messages from a wacko who apparently took animation lessons fromSouth Park,it's doubtful that its agents would allow the president to continue non-essential public appearances in the region from which they were distributed.

The film is a sequel toFirst Daughter, the most popular original movie in basic-cable history, according to TBS. Back to help Hannah's agent, Alex McGregor, is her boyfriend, river guide Grant Coleman (Doug Savant). McGregor is trying to locate a computer hacker who has threatened the president on the eve of a personal appearance at a remote mountain tramway in Washington state.

A jittery Coleman, meanwhile, is trying to find the right time to propose to Alex. His indecision frustrates President Jonathan Hayes (Gregory Harrison), who turns matchmaker by inviting the boyfriend along for the Washington trip.

The first couple of times Coleman's proposal is interrupted, it's cute, but that plot device quickly becomes cloying. On top of that, this scruffy-looking boyfriend is allowed to wander a supposed secured site at will, just because he has a tag around his neck. That doesn't even work at rock concerts!

As far as the political intrigue, there are lots of players. There's the James Bond-worthy lady assassin, Nina (Ona Grauer). She's working for a Washington millionaire, J.P. (Tom Butler), who's a member of a tycoon's cabal. Then there are the agents themselves. There's a lot of jealousy of Alex and her power. Are any of them involved?

It isn't resolved until the scenic climax, filmed atop the aforementioned mountain tram station. The movie chicks get to kick butt, and the president does, too. (Come on, you don't think they'd let him get hurt, would you?)

It's a decent popcorn flick, guaranteed to have more action than the upcoming presidential debates.

First Targetdebuts on Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. PT on TBS.